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updated: 2/8/2012 5:35 AM

Capone's Hideaway in St. Charles shuts its doors

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  • Al Capone's Hideaway and Steakhouse was located in the Valley View neighborhood north of St. Charles.

       Al Capone's Hideaway and Steakhouse was located in the Valley View neighborhood north of St. Charles.
    LAURA STOECKER | Staff Photographer

  • LAURA STOECKER/lstoecker@dailyherald.comOld photos and newspaper articles decorate the walls at Al Capone's Hideaway.

      LAURA STOECKER/lstoecker@dailyherald.comOld photos and newspaper articles decorate the walls at Al Capone's Hideaway.

 
 

Al Capone's Hideaway and Steakhouse, a former speak-easy and Roaring '20s-themed restaurant nestled along the Fox River in St. Charles, has closed.

"After 38 years in business, we want to thank you for everything you've done for us. We are closed and it's time to take a break and refresh. Thank you so, so much," said the answering machine at the restaurant.

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Owner Bill Brooks, who bought the business in 1973, could not be reached for comment by phone or email.

No one answered the door a two-story yellow house Tuesday on the restaurant's property at 35W337 Riverside Drive, near the unincorporated Valley View subdivision north of St. Charles.

The three-story, gray building was erected in the early 1920s by Jim Reitmayer as part of an exclusive summer resort, and a restaurant there was known for serving home-brewed beers spiked with bathtub gin. It was an authentic Prohibition-era speak-easy and Reitmayer's Resort became known for gambling, women, and its ties with Chicago gangster Al Capone.

Amy Egolf, executive director of the Greater St. Charles Visitors Bureau, said a bureau employee called the restaurant last week to verify information for an annual visitor's guide and learned it had closed.

Egolf, who couldn't speak as to why Capone's shut down, said the '20s concept and the fact that it was nestled in a wooded area along the Fox River added to its "mystique."

"It was a fun place. We enjoyed promoting it. We enjoyed taking travel writers there," Egolf said. "It was a great place. The food was super."

While downtown St. Charles still boasts many quality restaurants, Capone's is the latest of some of the older eateries, such as Rex's Cork and Fork in St. Charles and Mill Race Inn in Geneva, to shut down.

Longtime St. Charles Alderman Jim Martin said the shuttering of Capone's was a surprise, and he figured it was due to the tough economy.

"It was a great place. It's a shame," he said. "I can certainly understand there's fewer dollars to spend at good restaurants today."

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